Welcome to Admiring Natalie Dormer, your original high quality resource for British actress Natalie Dormer. Natalie is most known for her role as Anne Boleyn in "The Tudors" and more recently as Margaery Tyrell in HBO's "Game of Thrones".

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Julita / October 23, 2017 / 0 Comments

Despite shooting to fame as Margaery Tyrell in hit TV fantasy series ‘Game Of Thrones‘, Natalie Dormer is no stranger to the theatre world. In fact, the 35-year-old actress has regularly won critical acclaim for her stage performances, and her new West End show, ‘Venus In Fur’, is staggering proof as to why. Starring as Vanda Jordan in the two-hander play, Dormer gives an electric performance opposite David Oakes’ Thomas Novachek, with the pair together creating a brilliantly understated piece of theatre that is sure to enthral its audience night after night.

‘Venus In Fur’ follows Novachek’s attempt to cast the leading lady in his adaptation of 1870 novel ‘Venus In Furs’, with Dormer’s Vanda bursting into his office after hours and begging for the chance to audition. Vanda is uneducated, brash, and speaks before thinking, however, when a reluctant Novachek finally allows her to perform she switches- embodying the character of Wanda von Dunayev, much to everybody’s surprise. What follows is a captivating play-within-a-play as Vanda and Thomas read through the ‘sado-masochist’ script with regular intervals where they come back to reality and Vanda lets slip her astonishing insights into the novel and the unjust treatment of her character – leading to a truly unpredictable and memorising climax.

Throughout the play’s 90-minute run-time, Dormer is able to switch between her two hugely different characters with ease; seamlessly transitioning from brash, Brooklyn Vanda to well-spoken, European Wanda seemingly without a second thought and without ever losing her charming comedic timing. Despite spending the majority of the play in sexy lingerie, Dormer is able to maintain dominance on stage as her character fights to shift the power balance between herself/ Wanda and Thomas/ Severin von Kushemski.

Oakes also gives a convincing performance as Thomas gradually, and obviously, falls in lust with the wildly passionate Vanda, portraying a certain vulnerability as the play progresses, which was noticeably absent when we were first introduced to his exasperated character.The actors have an impressive connection as the only two people on stage and it doesn’t take long for the audience to become engrossed in the two stories, which unfold at a the perfect pace – giving the audience enough time to comprehend what is going on but not taking so long that patrons start to get bored.

The themes of misogyny and sexual injustice in Patrick Marber’s production of ‘Venus In Fur’ felt particularly timely given the current climate of the acting world, with the play opening its doors amid a wave of shocking sexual assault allegations against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – making Vanda’s audition all the more chilling… And the shock finale that little bit more satisfying.

Julita / October 23, 2017 / 0 Comments

Julita / October 22, 2017 / 0 Comments

In her new West End role in Venus In Fur, the ex-Game Of Thrones star plays an actress auditioning for a part. “This play reminds you of the fear,” Dormer, 35, told the Standard at the press night after-party. “The moment you lose that fear that you’re not going to be employed tomorrow, then you lose your edge. You have to live in fear. You’re never home and dry as an actor. I also don’t think any actor has to draw deep to search for emotional rejection!”

Natalie at ‘Venus in Fur’ Press Night After Party held at Mint Leaf in London, UK. 17th October 2017

David Ives’s sexually charged two-hander examines issues of feminism and masochism. Dormer plays actress Vanda Jordan, who is auditioning for director Thomas Novachek, played by Oakes, for a production based on the 1870 novella Venus In Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Oakes, 34, who plays Prince Ernest in ITV’s Victoria, added: “There’s the old saying that you’re only as good as your last job. “I don’t think that’s quite right — I think you’re only as good as your next job. There’s no guarantee it’s ever going to come about, so you may as well do your last one as best as you possibly can.”

Dormer said of the play’s themes: “It feeds upon what feminism and humanism need to be in our modern society.” The actress rose to fame as Anne Boleyn in The Tudors and later won the part of the ambitious Margaery Tyrell in Game Of Thrones, appearing in five seasons of HBO’s fantasy epic. She also starred in The Hunger Games films and has written her first movie, In Darkness, with fiancé Anthony Byrne. “I suppose I am drawn to strong characters,” she said at the party at Mint Leaf, Haymarket. “I like challenges. It’s like acting gymnastics. I always choose things on a case-by-case basis.”

Venus In Fur’s director, Patrick Marber, worked with Dormer when she starred in his play After Miss Julie at the Young Vic five years ago, the last time she trod the boards. She has previously spoken about her practical attitude to portraying sex. Last year, she told the Standard: “When I started my career, I was grateful to get the job. People would say, ‘The Tudors was so hyper-sexualised, why on earth would you make that decision?’ “Well, I made the decision because I was unemployed.”

Julita / October 22, 2017 / 0 Comments

This is embarrassing. Ninety minutes in the company of Natalie Dormer on stage at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and I’m her slave. She could even command me to watch (non-stop) six seasons of Game of Thrones (in which she starred as Margaery Tyrell, the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, before being bumped off the series last year) and I, the most unpersuaded of the unconverted, would be game on.

Dormer was sensational five years ago at the Young Vic as the power-wielding Miss Julie, moving below-stairs on a mission to seduce the chauffeur, in Patrick Marber’s evergreen rewrite of Strindberg’s class-war classic. With Marber directing her here (with a beautiful set by Rob Howell), she’s sensational once more playing the mysterious Vanda, a brassy New York actress bursting with hope, confidence and much else besides.

This straight-talking but slippery blonde bombshell has turned up, after-hours, in the middle of a storm, to audition for a stage adaptation of Venus in Fur, the erotic-romantic novella by the Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895) whose name and work allowed us to apply the term “masochism” to pain-derived sexual pleasure. If this were an audition for Dormer, it couldn’t go better: a tour de force that will surely put everyone – Thrones fans or not – under her spell. What she couldn’t get me to do, though, is pile praise on David Ives’s increasingly punishing two-hander, which also stars David Oakes as the initially nonplussed, gradually beguiled, inevitably submissive adaptor Thomas, a chauvinist who gets his comeuppance as art meets life.

There are lashings of enjoyable comedy early on, as Vanda refuses to take the hint to get lost and takes charge of the reading – able to recite reams of the script despite affecting ignorance at the start. Blessed with star-quality, the Berkshire-born Dormer has a capacity to combine physical poise with facial expressiveness, glints of steeliness with flashes of warmth, in shifting, mercurial combinations. This explains why – aside from the “Weinstein” factor of predatory interest – Thomas lets her take over.

Marber treads a fine line on the titillation front, having Vanda slip between costumes with ambiguous suggestiveness, in full view of the audience. And that goes hand in glove with the theme of the piece: who’s calling the shots, men or women? Except that Ives’s script is so busy critiquing the empowerment and eroticism it plays with that it winds up tying itself in knots.

It’s impressive to see the actors contending with dives between American and English/Mittel-European accents, role-swapping and even gender-switching. It’s less appealing trying to fathom what the play is driving at; and after all the clever-cleverness builds to a head, the climax feels crudely put, if not rather pat. A pretty creaky vehicle, then, but with a leading lady to die for cracking the whip. Worth a peek.

Julita / October 22, 2017 / 0 Comments

This play about sexual domination couldn’t come at a more topical moment. In this kinky two-hander set in a Manhattan loft, Natalie Dormer, best known as Margaery Tyrell from Game Of Thrones, gets to crack the metaphorical whip. She plays the ditzy blonde, out-of-work actress with a Noo Yawk accent, Vanda, who arrives late for a one-to-one audition with a male director. She cajoles this chap – Thomas, a timid, rather chauvinist intellectual who’s had a long day and wants to go home – into hearing her read the female part in a stage adaptation of Venus In Furs, the scandalously erotic 1870 novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.

He was the Austrian author whose name produced the term masochism. Claiming only to have flipped through the script, it turns out the actress is word perfect. She puts on a period dress and a European accent and becomes every inch the noblewoman in the book. She demands that the director enacts the novel’s male protagonist, who as a child was whipped with a birch rod and got a taste for it. As the tables are turned, kinky sex oozes into the room. Dormer flits between the scary siren in the script and an astute young actress who is no dumb blonde. ‘You don’t have to tell me about sado-masochism. I’m in the theatre,’ she points out.

As the director, David Oakes is a bit bland, but you can see the glint in his eye as the erotic charade of male submission is played out. David Ives’ play builds up a head of steam, shifting from comedy to feminist revenge drama. But then it falls apart totally and finally disappears, unresolved, up its own bottom.

Playwright Patrick Marber directs with noisy flashes of thunder and lightning as if this is King Lear, which it certainly isn’t. But it’s about two-thirds lively entertainment. That’s because Miss Dormer is so good in the part.
She alone gives the evening its smack of class.

Julita / October 22, 2017 / 0 Comments

Sometimes events in the news can cast a new light on what’s happening on the stage. Patrick Marber’s production of David Ives’s Venus in Fur, a dark sexual comedy about an actress auditioning for a role with a misogynistic male director, has become depressingly timely as allegations of sexual assault by the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, once referred to as “God”, continue to surface.

Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer gives a mesmerising performance as Vanda Jordan – skilfully seductive and with impeccable comedic timing – as she crashes into an audition with young jaded playwright/director Thomas Novachek (David Oakes), who is adapting the 19th-century sadomasochistic novel Venus in Furs for the New York stage. Although she initially appears ill-suited for the part, swearing like a sailor and cackling at her own lewd comments, as soon as she dons a ladylike white gown Dormer transforms, like a BDSM Eliza Doolittle, into the aristocratic, haughty lead the playwright is looking for.

What follows is a battle of wills between the two, with shifts in the power dynamic, role reversal, characters playing characters playing characters, and a variety of amusing transatlantic accents. While Vanda charms both Novachek and the audience, his character is somewhat lost in the background, soon staring at her with the air of a lovesick teenager without putting up much of a fight. As Vanda gains more power over him, she calls out the book’s sexism and their encounter becomes a proxy gender war.

The 90-minute one-act play is an entertaining tour de force, building to a thrillingly camp ending. But there’s no escaping that, for all its forward-thinking gender politics, it’s a man’s play, directed by a man, featuring a skimpily dressed woman arguably satisfying the male protagonist’s sexual desires. It’s a lot harder to laugh along with than it would have been a month ago.